The Geek Guide, Part 2: Faculty Holiday Gift Picks

When Full Sailors are nestled all snug in their beds, what visions of tech gear dance in their heads?

Well, now we know! We asked several faculty and staff members of various Geek varieties to tell us what they would love to find under their trees. In The Geek Guide, Part 1, we shared suggestions from faculty and staff members who predominately fall into the categories of Stylish Geek or Game Geek.

In the Geek Guide, Part 2, we offer suggestions from certified Audio Geeks and Art Geeks:

Gifts for Art Geeks

For wired artists, Jeff Parrott recommends the SmudgeGuard glove, which can be used with Wacom tablets and Tablet PCs. “It makes it easier for your hand to move around on your digital painting tablet. It’s not a gift that will break the bank, but you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll use it,” said Parrott, who teaches Texture Painting and Sculpting for Game Art.

“Plus,” he added, “you’ll look awesome walking around campus when you forget to take it off. I know I do!”

Photography and camera aficionado Lesley Silvia says cameras are like pairs of shoes. “You don’t have to just have one!” she explained. Silvia told us she is dreaming about a Polaroid Z340 Instant Camera.

“This is a 14-megapixel digital camera, but in the spirit of Polaroid, the camera will instantly print the photos on Polaroid’s ZINK paper. Unlike my other analog Polaroid and Fuji instant film cameras, the Z340 let’s you edit and save the photos first,” wrote Silvia, who teaches for Digital Arts & Design and Graphic Design. “And the paper doesn’t take time to dry (contrary to the popular song advice, it’s really pointless to shake a Polaroid picture). You can buy a 30-pack of the paper for $18, which is a better deal than Fuji’s instant film or anything Impossible makes.”

Gifts for Audio Geeks

Do you have a very deserving geek on your list who is an aspiring audio engineer for the recording or film industries? Dubbing Stage Engineer Michael Orlowski said his top pick is the somewhat pricey Izotope RX 2.

“For $349, it is the best noise reduction program around,” Orlowski told us. “With RX you can edit and fix sounds in a similar way that graphic artists retouch photos. The software will run on Mac as well as PC. You can use it as a stand-alone program or as a plug-in for your DAW. I have used Izotope RX for many years, and it is the one tool that I cannot live without.”

For some gift ideas that are a little more budget-friendly, Session Recording Course Director Darren Schneider suggests an amplifier, a fun audio plug-in or a guitar tuner.

“This is a great little guitar tuner that just clips on, goes anywhere and works on any instrument,” Schneider said of the Snark Clip-On Chromatic Guitar Tuner. For the old school audio engineering geek who misses the warm sound of analog, he recommends this Virtual Tape Machines plug-in, which mimics analog tape machines. And for band practice, Schneider suggests the Orange Amplifiers Micro Terror MT20 Guitar Amp Head, which can be used with speakers or headphones.

Finally, for the audiophile who’s tired of headphones, Music Business Department Chair Gale Newbold suggests portable speakers – like the X-mini II Capsule Speaker or the iLuv Boom Cubes. “I would love to get a set of portable speakers that I can use with my computer or iPhone when I want to rock out with my friends,” said Newbold.

Need some more ideas? Be sure to check out The Geek Guide, Part 1.